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Feature book: The Master’s New Governess

20 January 2021

The Master’s New Governess by Eliza Redgold

Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 1 Jul 2020
Publisher: Mills & Boon Historical
Format: ebook and print
Length: 288 pages
RRP: $5.99 (ebook); $15.50 (print)

Eliza Redgold is a new-to-me author, and I’m not sure how she’s slipped under my radar previously. I was so pleased to receive this M&B Historical to review.

The setting is 1855 rural Cornwall, delightfully refreshing after reading so many English historicals set in cities.

When we meet the heroine, Maud Wilmot, she is on a train travelling to Cornwall to meet the widowed Sir Dominic Jago at Pendragon Hall. Maud is to be the new governess to his young daughter, who is delicate in nature.

We get the impression that Maud is very, very glad to be out of the cities and into the remote country, away from familiar terrain and people who might know her. There is a colossal secret she is nursing about her last job, which ended—we presume—very, very badly, and without the necessary references to procure another situation. Maud has been less than honest about her references and previous employment, from sheer desperation.

All empathy to Maud here. She is wretched, single, something dire has occurred, and we all know how horrendous life was in those times for unemployed women with no income and no way to earn it. There were no rights, no care and little assistance to call on. Often it was through no fault of their own. What a terrible burden to bear.

And Maud seems just so lovely and caring. She defends an unwell woman on the train from a pompous prig who wanted to turf her out of ‘his’ seat, and her giving heart is absolutely evident. She is, it seems, a Woman Who Has Been Wronged in the Worst Possible Way. How, we don’t know yet. But it must have been frightful for her to have such huge secrets and consider herself ‘ruined’.

As it turns out, Sir Dominic Jago is the owner of the Cornwall Railway—a fascinating profession for a hero! I was instantly hooked and hung on all the snippets about the railway through the book. So fabulous.

He is also a very nice man, although a bit flummoxed about his new governess. She is absolutely no nonsense with him, polite but very distant and prim and proper; a real enigma. But she is wonderful with his daughter. The little girl begins to blossom under Miss Wilmot’s gentle and genuine care, and Dominic is quietly thrilled.

What I loved about this story was the sort of ‘Scheherazade’ kind of story-telling that happened every night. Maud would tell some lovely bedtime fairy stories about butterflies and moths and beautiful things—and we get to hear them too. Then the next day she would entice her young charge outside into the healthy fresh air and sunshine to find the butterflies and study them in the grounds around Pendragon Hall. Dominic finds himself just as entranced by these stories as his daughter, and as the stories unfolded, I confess I was hooked too. There is more to the quiet, reclusive Miss Wilmot than meets the eye!

Sadly, when you’re living a lie, the truth will come out … Just as Maud’s feeling her way to a tentative relationship with Dominic, after months and months of being cautious, careful, and telling half-truths (and always looking over her shoulder), the worst is shockingly exposed.

All I can say is, Dominic is a fair and righteous hero. Although everything seems lost, he is absolutely magnificent against all odds.

I loved Maud and Dominic. Slightly unusual and both with huge hearts. I also loved the little quotes from Tennyson’s poem ‘Maud’, quoted at the top of each chapter.

This quiet, sweet book was an utter delight.

reviewed by Malvina

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.


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